I’ve been in Rome several times, but, honestly, I never allowed myself time enough to a deep visit.
Since, the company was always different, the mandatory highlights were always present in all the visits.
Being such a rich city, the same places may supply different images and sensations, according to the season, the hour, even the mood and your company in the visit.
That’s why Rome is always new and captivating.
The Center of History
You may go to Rome without seeing the Pope, but it’s much more difficult to go without seeing the forum.
If you are just curious, one day is more than enough to see and understand the essential, but if you are a serious student of history or art, then you’d better reserve a full week.
And work hard…
A world inside Rome
Here, the Saturn temple, but it is impossible to identify everything and, more than that, to remember everything.
I think that this is one of the places where a professional guide is fundamental to those who need to discover the names, dates and functions of all the buildings remembered by the ruins.
Yes, It’s impossible to remember in detail the image and name of each monument lined in the forum, but, travelling with Tito, who could skip Tito’s triumphal arch?
Built by Domitian in 82 AD, it was the model to several triumphal arches, including the modern one in Paris.
As we have seen 3000 times in TV
It’s impossible to get surprised in some monuments, so popular that TV frequently delivers them at our homes.
That happened in Rome with its most famous monuments. The Colosseum is stunning but… we knew it!
Anyway, it’s mandatory to get in, and there are always some unknown details.
Heavy. old and respectfull
I thought it could be a lie, but it isn’t. Of course it’s old. Two thousand years…? With such architecture? Let me collect some details from internet:
“The portico consists of three rows of eight columns, 14 m (46 feet) high of Egyptian granite with Corinthian capitals. They support an entablature facing the square, which bears the famous inscription in Latin, attributing the construction to Agrippa, although the extant temple was rebuilt later by Hadrian.
The dome has a span of 43.2 m (142 feet), the largest dome until Brunelleschi’s dome at the Florence Cathedral of 1420-36. The interior volume is a cylinder above which springs the half sphere of the dome.
A whole sphere can be inscribed in the interior volume, with the diameter at the floor of the cylinder of 43.3 m (143 feet) equaling the interior height. Five rows of twenty-eight square coffers of diminishing size radiate from the central unglazed oculus with a diameter of 8.7 m (29 feet) at the top of the dome. The dome is constructed of stepped rings of solid concrete with less and less density as lighter aggregate (pumice) is used, diminishing in thickness to about 1.2 m (4 feet) at the edge of the oculus. The dome rests on a cylinder of masonry walls 6 m (20 feet). Hidden voids and the interior recesses hollow out this construction, so that it works less as a solid mass and more like three continuous arcades which correspond to the three tiers of relieving arches visible on the building exterior. Originally, these exterior walls were faced with colored marbles.”
Watching such an harmonious building…would you believe?
Rome’s Living Room
Everybody meets in Piazza Navona.
A masterpiece of baroque, this place with the shape of a roman stadium, is dominated by the three fountains, with evidence to the Fontana dei Fiumi.
The permanent crowds, the stalls, the street performers, make this place one of the liveliest in Rome.
Website: Piazza Navona
Piazza di Spagna
When the subject is fashion, those steps are in everybody’s memories. That’s why, after seeing the Pope, everybody must go there.
As a matter of fact, the local is not particularly attractive, specially knowing that it has Rome around it, but… who cares? You have to go there.
Ok, we did, fortunately skipping the nearby shops.
Website: Place d’Espagne
The best of the seven hills
Drawn by Michelangelo, the square and staircase of Campidoglio compose a very harmonic ensemble, that didn’t deserve to be “hidden” behind the “monster” of Vittorio Emanuel II monument.
The geometry of the square is carefully planned, and the palaces that surround it, built during the 16th and 17th centuries, respect the master’s criteria.
A church – St. Maria in Aracueli – museums in the palaces, and very interesting statues all around, advice you to reserve several hours to its visit.
If you can! We couldn’t, and that’s why Campidoglio remains in my Rome’s “to see again” agenda.
Piazza Venetia is a place where everybody goes. Walking, or by car, the square is almost impossible to bypass,and thus, its most remarkable detail is… traffic. With Victor Emmanuel monument in one side and a few discreet but historically rich palaces in the other, people generally don’t spend much time in it, but if you have time, Venetia, Bonaparte and Generali are referenced palaces in the square.
Directions: Rione Trevi (Quirinale-Tritone-Barberini) (Roma centro)
Website: Piazza Venezia
Vitor Emanuel Monument
A large and massive monument, in central Rome, is the subject of strong critics. With a not totally disguised modernity (about one century old), it becomes a visual aggression to the smaller but richer monuments around it.
Anyway, I didn’t find it so ugly and out of context as most specialists say. The Monument, also known as ‘Il Vittoriano’ or as the Altare della Patria (Altar of the Nation), was built with white marble from Botticino in the province of Brescia. It is decorated with several statues, reliefs and murals, by artists from all Italy. At the center of the big monument (120 meters long and 80 meters high), stands the equestrian statue of Victor Emmanuel, work of sculptor Enrico Chiaradia, weighing 50 tons and 12 meters long. Below the statue is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, permanently with guards of honor. The upper section, if you are not tired enough to climb the high staircase, is a curved colonnade 15 meter tall, with a decoration looking like small chapels.
Address: Via San Pietro in Carcere (Piazza Venezia)
Sant’Ignazio di Loyola
All the world has eyes to Michelangelo and his Sistine Chapel, and easily forgets some other wonders easily accessible and absolutely astonishing. The roof painted by Andrea Pozzo in this church is a vertigo that absorbs and puts us in ecstasy. All the church has a perfection that makes it the justice that it deserves.
Address: Piazza del Gesù
99% of the people going to the Aventino area, goes to the church of Bocca de la Verita.
We did the same, but noticed, across the streets, the temples of the Boarium Forum, near the Fountain de Tritoni.
Bocca de la Verita
The legend says (in www.italyguides.it):
“This legend probably originates from Roman times.
It is said that the rich wife of a Roman noble was accused of adultery. The woman denied the accusations, but her husband wanted to put her to the test by making her hand inside the stone mouth.
Knowing perfectly well that she was lying, the woman used a very clever strategy. In front of a group of curious bystanders who had gathered around the Mouth of Truth, the man who was actually her lover embraced her and kissed her.
She pretended that she didn’t know him and accused him of being a madman and the crowd chased him away.
When she put her hand into the mouth, the woman declared that she had never kissed any other man apart from her husband and the poor madman who had just kissed her. In this way she was certain that she hadn’t lied and her hand was saved.
The betrayed husband saved her honour, but the Mouth of Truth lost its credibility and it is said that since that day it no longer carried out its function as a right and unappeasable judge.”
Of course, everybody knows that the story is just a curiosity, but who doesn’t put the hand inside the mouth?
Be prepared for a long line.
Address: Piazza della Bocca della Verita
Directions: In the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, by the Aventine hills.
A Fresh Oasis
After four or five times in Rome, I must confess that I couldn’t get time, yet, to visit the museum of Villa Borghese, but when I visited it with all the family and friends, after an exhaustive morning in the heat of August, we went to the park to rest a while.
The family took real profit of it, relaxing in the lawn, even refreshing the feet in water.
I didn’t stop for long, with such a beautiful park to see. However, it was sufficiently reinvigorating, for an end of the day in the Roman Forum.
Address: Via Aldrovandi, Via Raimondi (2 entries), Via Pinciana (2 entries), Piazzale Sao Paulo, Piazzale Flaminio Square Cervantes, Rome Italy
Directions: Near the National Gallery of Modern and Contempory Art/
Website: Vila Borghesa
Fontana di Trevi
What is the real attraction?
The masterpiece of Bernini promoted by Fellini, or the thousands of people gathering there to throw fortunes in the water in downpours of coins?
I don’t know, I didn’t throw any coin, concentrated in the beauty of the fountain, forgetting to find out where were the soldiers guarding the money
What else can I say without repeating what everybody knows?
It has nothing to add to what we saw in movies, TV, guides and books. Only the sensation of being there, the sense of proportions, the success of passing all lines and controls. Reaching an high place, we have the opportunity to free your imagination and mentally replace the crowds with guides and cameras by thousands of nervous people, breathing the smell of blood from below, and the comfort of being out of the arena.
Browsing the lower corridors, it’s possible to feel the imprisonment of the fighters, waiting for their destination.
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